The Documented Life Project: 2014

Early in the year, I mentioned that I was going to try a couple of new creative projects this year. And, one of those is The Documented Life Project.

I also mentioned that I would like to share some updates here on the blog, whenever possible. If you follow me on Instagram or Flickr, you may have seen some of my posts. If not, then this would be a good time to catch-up. 🙂


One of the fun parts of doing this project was creating the hybrid journal (see photo above). I've pretty much converted a notebook made with recycled paper from a local company into an art journal/planner/notebook/diary.

Every week, The Documented Life community organisers post a new challenge to work on. Members of the group then share their own creations based on the challenges/prompts. Of course, the sharing part is optional. I've been taking part in the challenges but I have yet to share any of my work on the Facebook page. Although I've been enjoying looking at others' work.

Anyway, I thought for this post, I'd share my Weeks 1 to 8 creations. I have just caught-up to Week 8 (it's Week 9 this week, and I have yet to do this latest challenge!).

#DocumentedLife Week 1 (Doors) & 2 (Selfie/Me) challenges: Done.   Still just playing around with this. Don't know yet how this will shape up. But, I am enjoying the process.   So far, I seem to do the weekly prompt with my own doodle/sketch interpretatioThe photo above shows Weeks 1 and 2.

For Week 1, we were given the prompt of making an art journal page using our front door as inspiration. I decided to do a sketch/doodle of the door of our new house. And wrote a journal entry based on the concept of "doors".

For Week 2, it was "Selfie" time. I was going to do a sketch/doodle of myself, but opted out due to time constraints and pressure (I'm not the biggest fan of drawing portraits). Ended up taking a photo selfie, then creating a collage page.

Week 3 #DocumentedLife Challenge: #Mail . Writing letters for 30+ years. Loved mail from the start. Still love it now.

Week 3's challenge was "Mail Art". Basically, incorporate something from the mail into the art journal. I ended up incorporating the envelope from a recent snail mail I received from my long-time penpal from Germany (writing to each other for close to 25 years!).

I loved this challenge because I love mail. And, it made me start looking at this hybrid journal in a different way. It started becoming like a playground of ideas for me, not a place for "finished products". Sometimes, I forget that I don't always have to make something look 'complete' or 'finished'.

Week 4 of the #DocumentedLife project is all about secrets. Needed to write a secret then highlight the words that stood out at the time. Then, cover the rest.   I added a crown there to remind me that this is the week I start with Year of the Fairy Tale

Week 4's challenge was about "Secrets". We were asked to write a secret on the page - then choose some key words from that secret - then cover the rest of the secret. I loved this challenge too because it was a real challenge. It's always scary writing down secrets. But, it felt cathartic, the experience of writing down in secret - then covering it all up with paint.

I also began playing around some more with this hybrid journal this week. I was beginning to enjoy the whole weekly documented challenges.

My week 5 #documentedlife challenge. On #doodles. But, as always, I've added a few things that resonate with me right now - like brush script lettering and sketching. "Love where you are" is a theme that will most likely show up again.

Week 5 challenge was all about doodles. But, since this week, the whole idea of brush script lettering and sketching was resonating with me, so I ended up incorporating that into the week's challenge. I also incorporated a 'mantra' that was close to my heart at the time. I wanted to remember it.

"Love where you are" is a theme that will most likely show up again. And, to reiterate that concept, I even ended up sketching the view from where I was at the time of creating this page - my office studio/study.

Catching up on #DocumentedLife project. This one's Week 6, creating from #Pinterest inspiration. Put this one off because I wasn't sure what to do. Ended up just opening my 'art inspiration' board and doodling concepts I saved there. I saved a lot of bird

Week 6 was the first week I didn't feel quite up to the challenge.Partly because I was having a really busy time at work and partly because I didn't quite know what to do with the prompt of "Pinterest". I saw what other people were doing but I wasn't getting inspired. So, I kept putting it off. Until I ended up not doing it for a while because I had to go overseas to Singapore the next week.

A few days ago, I started catching up on this project and I did this page. Basically, what came to me was to check out my "Art Inspiration" board on Pinterest and decided to doodle stuff from there. Made me realise I saved a lot of 'pins' that feature birds, owls, trees, and flowers. Yes, it's all a recurring theme for me, obviously. I really should pay more attention to what my creative subconscious is telling me.

I'm not completely happy with these pages, but it would have to do. At least, for now.
Another #DocumentedLife catch-up page. Week 7 challenge is to draw a shape, then keep drawing that shape over and over. Since it was Valentine's week that week, I decided to draw/doodle #hearts.

I was away in Singapore during Week 7, so I didn't get the chance to do any of this project. The prompt was to draw a shape. Then, keep drawing that shape over and over. Since it was Valentine's week, I thought I'd start off with a heart. And, I just kept going from there. The result is nothing fancy, but I kind of like this page. I'm especially drawn to two things: the colour scheme (I like the black/pink/white combo) and the "messy" style. I think I'm seeing this more and more in what I do.

Another #DocumentedLife catch-up. Last week was Week 8 and the challenge was to add a flap to a flap. Here, I decided to use my Qantas boarding pass on the way back to AU from Singapore as my extra flap. Also played with handmade stamps and new washi tape

And, for Week 8, the prompt was to add a flap to a flap in the journal. Didn't feel quite inspired with that prompt that's why I almost didn't want to do this challenge either. But, I pushed myself and ended up with this.

Used my Qantas boarding pass from my trip to Singapore (back to Australia) as my extra flap. And, I ended up playing with handmade and store-bought stamps + a new washi tape with birds (!). The brush script lettering came up again, just because. This time, I used a beloved quote from one of my favourite authors, Ray Bradbury.

"You've got to jump off cliffs, and build your wings on the way down." - Ray Bradbury

That quote seems so apt, especially when it comes to doing anything creative - writing, drawing, painting... And somehow, that's the process I use when creating these pages for The Documented Life project. And yes, I've been having fun. Hopefully, I'll get to write another catch-up post on this subject some time.

Inside the flap of #DocumentedLife Week 8. Following on the quote of jumping off cliffs and building wings. Wasn't terribly excited about these pages, but I kind of like how the inside of this flap turned out.

About the Author Shai Coggins

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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